Various Artists

Northwest Battle of the Bands, Vol. 3 [Big Beat]

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Another shovelful of 1965-1967 tracks from the Jerden Records vault comprises this anthology of mid-'60s Northwest garage rock, with 11 of the 30 songs previously unreleased. It toes the line between being an enjoyable selection of various strands of the era's regional music and a more documentarian exercise, with just a couple of the artists (Don & the Good Times and the Sonics) having much more than a purely collector reputation. There's a lot of the R&B-soaked raunch typical of Northwest mid-'60s rock in many of the sides, with lots of voltage to the instruments and singing, a generic quality to the melodies, and more sax and roller rink-blues organ than is common for most garage music. Still, there are some other influences at play too, like the Zombies-Beau Brummels mix of the Accents' "I Want Your Love," or the early Rolling Stonesy jive of Mr. Lucky & the Gamblers' "Take a Look at Me." The Bag's "Incubatin' Middle of the Night Gyratin' Blues" is a kick as far as little-heard, early, bluesy, rebellious folk-rock goes, with its inept harmonica falling somewhere between early Beau Brummels and Bob Dylan. The only real outstanding cut, though, is the Juveniles' astounding punky take on "Bo Diddley," which stands up to the work of the best obscure British Invasion R&B groups, though it's been reissued before.

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